All Commentary
Friday, May 1, 2015

Strategic Notes from FEE—Clearer channel, wider audience

May 2015

Two months ago I wrote to you about the investments that FEE is making in digital technology and talent. One of these investments came to fruition early last month as we launched a new edition of our website,

Along with a contemporary look-and-feel, the new site is optimized for smartphones and tablets, features a substantially upgraded blogging platform and offers enhanced accessibility to 60+ years of The Freeman and FEE’s entire library of content.

We expected a bump in website visits once our users found these improved features, but we weren’t prepared for the surge that happened almost immediately.

A year ago, our web traffic was at about 62,000 sessions per week (3.2 million sessions annualized rate). Our ranking on Alexa, a unit of Amazon that measures global website popularity (where #1 is the most popular) was respectable, at about number 120,000 worldwide.

Just prior to the launch of the new site, in late March, our web traffic was up by about 40%, to a rate of 88,000 sessions per week (4.6 million annualized) and our Alexa ranking had improved to number 74,000.

Since the launch, however, our traffic is up another 50%. We hosted 131,000 sessions in the last full week of April (6.8 million annual rate) and our Alexa ranking is now below the 66,000 mark.

These remarkable gains resulted from a few key factors. 78% of April’s increased traffic occurred on the pages of the Anything Peaceful blog. 74% of the increased traffic was sourced from social media. And 66% of the increase occurred from people using smartphones and tablets.

Prior to the launch, the year-over-year increase in traffic was roughly proportional from all sources, attributable to improved digital marketing efforts across the board.

April’s increase, in contrast, was anything but proportional. It was attributable to our packaging and delivering content in forms that a major component of our audience prefers—blog posts discovered on social media using mobile devices. This required a significant investment of time and money, but we believe it’s worth it, because all of our content becomes more valuable as the interest in our website grows.

From now on, it’s our intention to upgrade on a more-or-less continual basis. The gains in readership for FEE’s new content and for FEE’s library are well worth it.

  • Wayne Olson is the Chairman of FEE's Board of Trustees and a former executive director of the Foundation for Economic Education.